Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the new book, "Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow." (Wiley, March 2008) He publishes the monthly "Hightower Lowdown," co-edited by Phillip Frazer.
Hightower writes, "Today, top executives of America's biggest corporations have become "Hushpuppy" specialists, cooking-up all kinds of goodies to "Hush-up" their own Boards of Directors. You see, the corporate board is supposed to be a hard-nosed watchdog, yelping whenever management gets out-of-line. But too many boards have become executive lapdogs, way too pampered to bark at -- much less bite -- the hand that feeds them."
Hightower writes, "The GE Capital Corporation has just announced that it will slap a fee on those of you who are so irresponsible that you actually pay off your credit card balances each month. That's right, if you do not go into debt and pay monthly interest to GE, you will be assessed an annual fee of twenty-five bucks. The message: shape-up, go into debt! It seems that credit card companies pile up 75 percent of their profits on us suckers who don't pay off our cards each month."
Jim Hightower feels that congressmen pull too many self serving stunts. He writes, "Take health-care reform. Congress talks about it, and talks and talks and talks. But our lawmakers are like baby blue jays -- all mouth and very little bird."
If you're one of thousands of Americans counting on your high-tech computer skills to assure you steady employment and good pay in the 21st Century's "Information Age" get ready to grab a fistful of hair.
"All across America, HMOs have been yanking health-care services out from under the elderly. But if these hot shot HMO CEOs feel they're not racking up enough in profits, why don't they take a look at their own corporate spending policies?"
"I have good news from the front lines of the cell phone rebellion. Restaurants are beginning to 'just say no' to the ego-maniacal yo-yos who storm in with phones drawn, blasting the other patrons with their high-decible verbal assault."
Hightower writes: "The problem is, if you're flying most major airlines -- including American, Continental, Delta, TWA, US Air, and Northwest -- you don't get a choice, since they all admit to spraying their planes with pesticides."
Hightower writes: "I say it's time to bring back the dunce cap in America's schools. Not for the kids -- for the administrators! I offer Benjamin Canada, superintendent of schools in Atlanta, as a case in point: He has eliminated recess in elementary schools. I rest my case. Mr. Canada says, 'We are intent on improving academic performance. You don't do that by having kids hanging on the monkey bars. Is this man begging for the dunce cap, or what?"
"Maybe you can't live forever, but your dog Fido, your cat Fluffy, and all your other pets can. A host of new companies have sprung up which will collect and store your pet's DNA for a fee, with the hopes that someday cloning technology will bring them back to life."
"Today, Spaceship Hightower takes you on a journey to an exotic junkyard, where you can get all sorts of useful spare parts. But these are not parts for your car, or even for your spaceship -- they're spare parts for you."
"When Edgar Rosen bought a Sunbeam Grillmaster home, he found that he was the one getting grilled. At the risk of losing his warranty, Rosen was required to fill out a foot-long questionnaire, demanding he reveal his income, marital status, what credit cards the Rosen household uses, whether anyone there smokes cigars, wears contact lenses, or is a veteran."
"Scientists have patented a process of splicing a flounder gene into the growth-hormone gene of the Salmon, causing the resulting fish to grow twice as fast and more than twice as large as normal. This would seem to be a bonanza for fish farmers -- double the fish in half the time. But it's not nice to try to fool Mother Nature, and the scientists' genetically engineered supersalmon comes with a devastating flaw... "
Joseph W. Luter III, boss hog at the nation's biggest pork producer, is buying out his competitors, squeezing out the family farmers who raise hogs, and contaminating the air and water for miles around.
Posted on: Mar 31, 2000, Source: Hightower Lowdown
There's a crime wave underway in America, but the Powers That Be are getting sore necks from looking the other way. When it comes to robbing us blind, the Armani-clad criminals in corporate boardrooms have it over the hoods on the street. While burglary and robbery cost U.S. taxpayers $3.8 billion annually, securities traders alone cream four times that amount from their clients in fraudulent deals every year -- and securities fraud is small potatoes.
"Today, Spaceship Hightower takes you into an alien universe where animals abound ... yet they're really not animals. For example, a dog barks, wags its tail, and even fetches its bone -- yet it's not a dog at all. Instead, it's a computerized creature, a microchip mutt that is riding the latest wave of toy technology: virtual pets."
"A group of Republican attorneys general have devised a sneaky way to take secret campaign contributions from tobacco companies, high-tech firms, gun makers, and other giant corporations, promising not to file big lawsuits against them."
Posted on: Mar 31, 2000, Source: Harper Collins Publishers, Inc.
"There are laws in our country that proclaim to human criminals 'three strikes and you're out' -- why not for corporations? Each year, hundreds of doctors, lawyers and other professionals have their licenses permanently revoked -- why not corporations? People who murder are removed from society -- why not corporations?" A fiery selection from Jim Hightower's new book, "If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote, They Would Have Given Us Candidates."
"There's a bunch of cranks out there suffering from a raw case of 'class envy.' No, I'm not talking about your ordinary working stiffs. Instead, this is a case of Executive Class Envy -- multi-millionaires who are becoming more and more envious of the growing crop of youngish mega-billionaires in our society."
"More and more cranky rich folks are literally lifting themselves above us riff-raff in the slow lanes of life by buying personal helicopters to take them to and fro their suburban enclaves. Of course, it's pricey, but what's money good for if you can't look down at the rabble below?"
"Three years ago John Deutch -- head honcho of the CIA -- transferred some 200 of America's secret documents onto computers that he had in his home. But was Deutch prosecuted for reckless endangerment of our secrets, as any other agent would have been? Hardly."
"We've learned in recent years that privacy is passŽ in practically every aspect of our lives as corporate and governmental snoops track our movements at work, in schools, walking down the street, browsing on the Internet ... and now, even while we eat."
"Here's a sorrow-filled story from the New York Times about the personal side of downsizing. It's about the emotional trauma suffered by those who get caught up in the blizzard of pink slips in today's harsh, corporate climate. Only, the Times story is not about the people getting pink slips ... but about the sad plight of bosses who hand them out."
"You've seen the ads pleading for your donations to help save children who live in poverty; ads featuring sad-eyed, malnourished waifs that just tug at your heart. Well, if you really want your heart strings plucked, wait 'til you hear about the tribulations of little Jeffrey, Lisa, and Alexa. Their problem is: They're rich."
"A new study has found that the use of such stimulants and antidepressants as Ritalin and Prozac have increased dramatically in the past few years among preschoolers. What kind of doctors are doing this? Where's the federal 'Drug War' when we really need it?"